Action research challenged myths about the drylands
Back in the 1980s, the drylands were being written off as overexploited wastelands. In 1987, the Drylands Programme of IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development) started to bring together researchers and NGOs in the drylands of sub-Saharan African who shared a different view. Through action research, targeted training and a wide range of publications, IIED and its partners gathered and disseminated evidence in English and French and shaped policy, particularly around pastoralism, natural resource management and land tenure. In its Reflect and Act series, IIED reflects on 25 Years in the Drylands in arid East and West Africa doing research that challenged common assumptions about poverty and desertification and that linked multilevel work ranging from the local dryland inhabitants to the global policymakers. Based on a recent review of the entire programme, this 2-pager highlights the main lessons learnt over a quarter of a century.